“I started bartending when I was 20—nobody realized. I ran the bar program at a shitty hotel bar in the CBD and worked weekends here at Booty’s, but then decided I liked working here a whole lot better. We have a new cocktail menu and about half of the cocktails are mine. We have bloody battles where the chef and the other bar manager and I compete with Bloody Mary recipes. I’ve won both competitions we’ve had so far.
Early drafts of my drinks tend to be strong; there’s usually no sweetness to them at all. Straight gin, with just a little something in there to make it interesting; and the same idea with whiskey. I’ve had to adjust to make my drinks a little more sellable, but I try to keep strong flavors in each cocktail, where most of the flavor comes from the liquor in it.
I like Akvavit because it’s a lot more neutral than Herbsaint, which I’m not crazy about; Sazeracs, with that anise going right up your nose. Akvavit is not nearly as herbal. The Satsuma peel I’m using is from a tree in my backyard. I rub it all around the rim to get the oils out.
I used to live next door to Jason who is the lead singer for Strange Roux, and I really like their music. Jason and Michelle, the other singer in the band, we talked about what flavors they associate with their music and they were thinking of something whiskey-based and sultry, deep and dark. It turned out that Michelle actually had never tried a Sazerac before. We did some variations and eventually decided on scotch, which has a lot of smokiness, and Fee’s bitters, which have a lot of cinnamon. We did four or five versions, got a bit drunk, and then settled on this recipe. It’s appropriate because it’s a New Orleans drink for a New Orleans band, but a lot of them are from elsewhere, and a lot of the ingredients are, too. If you’ve never been a fan of Sazeracs or scotch, this is a good introduction to both.”
- 2 ounces Highland Park 12-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- 1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters
- 1 small splash of ginger simple syrup
- Aarhus Akvavit (for wash)
- 1 strip fresh Satsuma peel
- Mix whisky, bitters and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
- Rinse out a cold glass with akvavit just enough to coat the inside.
- Rub Satsuma peel all around the rim.
- Quickly add as much ice as you can fit into cocktail shaker, shake, then strain into glass.